New Books (October-November)

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Featuring: Ben Aaronovitch, Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, Robert Jackson Bennett, Jonathan Carr, Ryan Chapman, James Charlesworth, P. Djèlí Clark, Michael Connelly, Lucy Foley, Gareth Hanrahan, Darius Hinks (x3), Glen Hirshberg, John Hornor Jacobs, Stephen King, Jenn Lyons, Patrick McGilligan, Seanan McGuire, Scotto Moore, Haruki Murakami, Sylvain Neuvel, James Patterson, Busy Philipps, James Rollins, Craig Russell, John Scalzi, Barry Strauss, Charles Stross, Michael J. Sullivan, Tracy Townsend, Paul Tremblay, Edward Wilson-Lee

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Upcoming in 2017… Gollancz & Orion

upcoming2017-orion

A selection of anticipated novels from Orion Books (and imprints).

Featuring: Joe Abercrombie, Dan Abnett, Mark Alder, Brad Beaulieu, Ezekiel Boone, C. Robert Cargill, Steve Cavanagh, Mason Cross, Aliette de Bodard, R.J. Ellory, Emily Fridlund, John Hornor Jacobs, Ursula K. le Guin, Ian McDonald, Andrew Pyper, Alastair Reynolds, Simon Wroe

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Upcoming from Gollancz/Orion

Continuing my recently-reinstated series of Upcoming posts, here are a selection of the (many) interesting and anticipated upcoming releases from Gollancz and Orion. (This is just a selection, of course, as Gollancz and Orion publish so very many excellent novels. For more, check our their website.)

BeaulieuB-1-TwelveKingsUKBradley Beaulieu, TWELVE KINGS (September 3rd)

An epic new fantasy series of mystery, prophecy and death within the ancient walled city of the Twelve Kings . . .

In the cramped west end of Sharakhai, the Amber Jewel of the Desert, Çeda fights in the pits to scrape a living. She, like so many in the city, pray for the downfall of the cruel, immortal Kings of Sharakhai, but she’s never been able to do anything about it. This all changes when she goes out on the night of Beht Zha’ir, the holy night when all are forbidden from walking the streets. It’s the night that the asirim, the powerful yet wretched creatures that protect the Kings from all who would stand against them, wander the city and take tribute. It is then that one of the asirim, a pitiful creature who wears a golden crown, stops Çeda and whispers long forgotten words into her ear. Çeda has heard those words before, in a book left to her by her mother, and it is through that one peculiar link that she begins to find hidden riddles left by her mother.

As Çeda begins to unlock the mysteries of that fateful night, she realizes that the very origin of the asirim and the dark bargain the Kings made with the gods of the desert to secure them may be the very key she needs to throw off the iron grip the Kings have had over Sharakhai. And yet the Kings are no fools-they’ve ruled the Shangazi for four hundred years for good reason, and they have not been idle. As Çeda digs into their past, and the Kings come closer and closer to unmasking her, Çeda must decide if she’s ready to face them once and for all.

I read and enjoyed Beaulieu’s debut novel, The Winds of Khalakovo in 2011 — for some reason, I never got around to finishing the series, but I think it was partly because I read the first book just before my year of living as something of a vagabond nomad… I’ll have to catch up at some point soon. Twelve Kinds is published in the US by DAW Books, on September 1st, 2015, as Twelve Kings in Sharakai.

Also on CR: Interview with Bradley Beaulieu (2011); Guest Post with Stephen Gaskell on “Co-Authoring Strata

Publisher Page

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deBodardA-1-HouseOfShatteredWingsUKAliette de Bodard, THE HOUSE OF SHATTERED WINGS (August 20th)

A superb murder mystery, on an epic scale, set against the fall out — literally — of a war in heaven

Paris in the aftermath of the Great Magicians War. Its streets are lined with haunted ruins, Notre-Dame is a burnt-out shell, and the Seine runs black, thick with ashes and rubble. Yet life continues among the wreckage. The citizens retain their irrepressible appetite for novelty and distraction, and The Great Houses still vie for dominion over France’s once grand capital.

House Silverspires, previously the leader of those power games, now lies in disarray. Its magic is ailing; its founder, Morningstar, has been missing for decades; and now something from the shadows stalks its people inside their very own walls.

Within the House, three very different people must come together: a naive but powerful Fallen, an alchemist with a self-destructive addiction, and a resentful young man wielding spells from the Far East. They may be Silverspires’ salvation; or the architects of its last, irreversible fall . . .

I’ve featured this a few times, but any excuse to highlight it again… I have an ARC already, so expect a review soon. Published in the US by Roc Books, on August 18th, 2015.

Publisher Page

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CoxE-RG2-CathedralOfKnownThingsUK smEdward Cox, THE CATHEDRAL OF KNOWN THINGS (Date)

In the end, all things are known. Return to the world of THE RELIC GUILD with this remarkable fantasy novel

Divided, hunted and short on resources, the surviving members of the Relic Guild are in real trouble. Their old enemy, the Genii, and their resurrected master have infiltrated Labrys Town and taken over the police force. 

So the Relic Guild must flee their home, and set off on a dangerous journey across the worlds of the Aelfir. One that will lead them to a weapon which might destroy the Genii. Or the whole universe…

And forty years before all this, the war which led to the fall of the Genii continues. And what happens to the Relic Guild during that conflict will change the course of their desperate flight.

I really enjoyed The Relic Guild, so I’m eager to get my mitts on a copy of the follow-up.

Also on CR: Interview with Edward Cox; Guest Post on “Writes and Wrongs

Publisher Page

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GrassT-TwistUKPBTom Grass, TWIST (August 27th, PB)

Packed with action, love and betrayal, Tom Grass’s electrifying heist thriller is a gripping reinvention of the Dickens classic, OLIVER TWIST.

Eighteen-year-old Twist doesn’t have much. No money, no home and no family. All he has is his reputation as one of the most daring street artists in London — whose unique skills are matched only by his infamous talent as a climber and freerunner.

But when he finds himself on the run from the police, he knows that he could be about to lose the last thing he has left – his freedom. Until he is saved by the mysterious Dodge. When Dodge introduces him to con artist and art ‘collector’ Cornelius Faginescu, Twist realises that he finally has the chance to be part of something. All that he has to do is put aside his moral objections and learn to steal…

When this came out in hardcover, I don’t think I saw a single review or even mention on the various blogs I frequent or Twitter feeds I follow. Which is strange, as it sounds rather good. Maybe the paperback will get some more attention?

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JaconsJH-2-ForeignDevilsUKJohn Hornor Jacobs, FOREIGN DEVILS (Date)

Sequel to the critically acclaimed THE INCORRUPTIBLES — new lands, new wars, new dangers.

The world is on the brink of war. 

Fisk and Shoe — mercenaries, very much not wanting to get caught in the middle of a political whirlwind — must deliver a very important message, and find a very dangerous man. They have caught the eye of the powerful men of the world, and now the stakes are higher than they like.

And the Emperor has decreed that Livia Cornelius, pregnant with Fisk’s child, must travel to the far lands of the Autumn Lords on a diplomatic mission. It will mean crossing half the world, and facing new dangers. And in the end, she will uncover the shocking truth at the heart of the Autumn Lords’ Empire.

A truth which will make the petty politics of war and peace unimportant, and will change the world.

I quite enjoyed The Incorruptibles — the writing and world-building were very well done, and I’m very eager to read this sequel.

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LeGuinU-AlwaysComingHomeUK2015Ursula Le Guin, ALWAYS COMING HOME (October 8th)

An unsung masterpiece from one of fantastic literature’s greatest writers.

A long, long time from now, in the valleys of what will no longer be called Northern California, might be going to have lived a people called the Kesh.

But Always Coming Home is not the story of the Kesh. Rather it is the stories of the Kesh — stories, poems, songs, recipes — Always Coming Home is no less than an anthropological account of a community that does not yet exist, a tour de force of imaginative fiction by one of modern literature’s great voices.

I have not read enough of Le Guin’s novels. I’m glad Gollancz are re-releasing so many of them.

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LynchS-GB4-ThornOfEmberlainUK-SmScott Lynch, THE THORN OF EMBERLAIN (October 15th)

Locke and Jean find themselves sucked into the horror of war. Will things ever be the same again?

With 50,000 copies sold of The Republic of Thieves and with praise from the likes of Joe Abercrombie and George RR Martin the saga of the Gentleman Bastard has become a favourite and key part of the fantasy landscape. And now Locke Lamora, thief, con-man, pirate, political deceiver must become a soldier.

A new chapter for Locke and Jean and finally the war that has been brewing in the Kingdom of the Marrows flares up and threatens to capture all in its flames. 

And all the while Locke must try to deal with the disturbing rumours about his past revealed in The Republic of Thieves. Fighting a war when you don’t know the truth of right and wrong is one thing. Fighting a war when you don’t know the truth of yourself is quite another. Particularly when you’ve never been that good with a sword anyway…

I’m not sure there are many fantasy fans who aren’t eagerly awaiting this novel… I should probably get my skates on and read The Republic of Thieves ASAP — although, I would like to refresh on the first two… So many pages to get through before October… The first three novels in the series were published in the US by Del Rey, but their website doesn’t list this one, so not sure if this one’s theirs too.

Publisher Page

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McDonaldI-Luna1-NewMoonUKIan McDonald, LUNA: NEW MOON (September 17th)

The new novel from a multi-award-winning writer: a corporate SF thriller and the deepest evocation yet of the terrors and rigours of life on the moon.

Having woven intricate and gripping plots around thought provoking looks at the future of countries like India, Brazil and Turkey, Ian McDonald now turns his attention to the moon. Luna is a gripping thriller about five corporate families caught in a bitter battle for supremacy in the harsh environment of the moon. It’s very easy to die on the moon but with its vast mineral wealth its also easy to make your fortune. This is SF that will be perfect for fans of Kim Stanley Robinson and Ken Macleod alike.

Told over two volumes this will do for the moon what the award winning River of Gods did for India, the award-winning Brasyl for Brazil and the award winning The Dervish House for Turkey – it will give it a vibrant, extraordinary and believable future.

Published in the US by Tor Books, on September 22nd, 2015.

Publisher Page

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OliverN-MasterOfShadowsUKNeil Oliver, MASTER OF SHADOWS (September 10th)

From the lawless borderlands of Scotland to the crumbling majesty of Constantinople, the first novel from TV historian Neil Oliver is a sweeping, epic adventure and the story of a man all but forgotten by history.

In fifteenth-century Constantinople, Prince Constantine saves the life of a broken-hearted girl. But the price of his valour is high.

John Grant is a young man on the edge of the world. His unique abilities carry him from his home in Scotland to the heart of the Byzantine Empire in search of a girl and the chance to fulfil a death-bed promise.

Lena has remained hidden from the men who have been searching for her for many years. When she’s hunted down, at last she knows what she must do.

With an army amassing beyond the city’s ancient walls, the fates of these three will intertwine. As the Siege of Constantinople reaches its climax, each must make a choice between head and heart, duty and destiny.

The cover caught my attention, and the synopsis convinced me that I’d like to read this. (Also, I’m Scottish, and I lived in Istanbul — so… that’s another, weird, reason to be interested…)

Publisher Page

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SheehanA-SpinningThornsUKAnna Sheehan, SPINNING THORNS (December 10th)

A superb new fairytale inspired novel from an award winning author. Once the fairy tale is told and the spell has been broken . . . what happens next . . . ?

Sleeping Beauty has woken.

The world has been renewed.

Everyone is living happily ever after . . .

Almost.

Sharp, blood-seeking thorns still surround the castle. A feud remains between those who wield magic and those who were subjected to it. And while the kingdom is divided against itself, nothing can thrive.

A rebellion may be needed — and that’s where Sleeping Beauty’s daughter comes in . . .

Don’t know anything about this novel save from the synopsis. And the cover, which is what drew my attention in the first place. There’s something akin to Into the Woods about the description, too, which could bode well.

Publisher Page

Review: THE INCORRUPTIBLES by John Hornor Jacobs (Gollancz)

JacobsJH-1-IncorruptiblesUKAn intriguing, well-executed fantasy with a difference

In the contested and unexplored territories at the edge of the Empire, a boat is making its laborious way upstream. Riding along the banks are the mercenaries hired to protect it – from raiders, bandits and, most of all, the stretchers, elf-like natives who kill any intruders into their territory. The mercenaries know this is dangerous, deadly work. But it is what they do.

In the boat the drunk governor of the territories and his sons and daughters make merry. They believe that their status makes them untouchable. They are wrong. And with them is a mysterious, beautiful young woman, who is the key to peace between warring nations and survival for the Empire. When a callow mercenary saves the life of the Governor on an ill-fated hunting party, the two groups are thrown together.

For Fisk and Shoe – two tough, honourable mercenaries surrounded by corruption, who know they can always and only rely on each other – their young companion appears to be playing with fire. The nobles have the power, and crossing them is always risky. And although love is a wonderful thing, sometimes the best decision is to walk away. Because no matter how untouchable or deadly you may be, the stretchers have other plans.

I’ve been looking forward to this novel for a good while. So, when it arrived last week, I knew I had to dive right into it. And so I did. And devoured it in just over a day. The novel starts off with quite a blizzard of new terminology and an unusual world, but I quickly settled into it. This is a very good fantasy story with a difference. Continue reading

Upcoming: Gollancz Debuts 2014

I’ve already featured Edward Cox’s upcoming debut, The Relic Guild, and Den Patrick’s The Boy With the Porcelain Blade, but I thought it would be good to take a quick look at Gollancz’s other 2014 debuts. All of the novels will be included in the £1.99 eBook promotion. So, in order of release, here are Gollancz’s other four 2014 debuts…

HuntS-FCS1-InDarkServiceUKStephen Hunt’s In Dark Service (May 15)

Carter has been kidnapped. Enslaved. But he’s determined to fight to the end.

Jacob is a pacifist. His family destroyed. He’s about to choose the path of violence to reclaim his son.

Their world has changed for ever. Between them, they’re going to avenge it.

Jacob Carnehan has settled down. He’s living a comfortable, quiet life, obeying the law and minding his own business while raising his son Carter… on those occasions when he isn’t having to bail him out of one scrape or another. His days of adventure are – thankfully – long behind him.

Carter Carnehan is going out of his mind with boredom. He’s bored by his humdrum life, frustrated that his father won’t live a little, and longs for the bright lights and excitement of anywhere-but-here. He’s longing for an opportunity to escape, and test himself against whatever the world has to offer.

Carter is going to get his opportunity. He’s caught up in a village fight, kidnapped by slavers and, before he knows it, is swept to another land. A lowly slave, surrounded by technology he doesn’t understand, his wish has come true: it’s him vs. the world. He can try to escape, he can try to lead his fellow slaves, or he can accept the inevitable and try to make the most of the short, brutal existence remaining to him.

… Unless Jacob gets to him first and, no matter the odds, he intends to. No one kidnaps his son and gets away with it – and if it come to it, he’ll force Kings to help him on his way, he’ll fight, steal, blackmail and betray his friends in the name of bringing Carter home.

Wars will be started. Empires will fall. And the Carnehan family will be reunited, one way or another…

I’ve never read anything by Stephen Hunt, but they’ve all sounded great – this is not his debut novel, just his Gollancz debut.

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WallaceJ-BarricadeUKJon Wallace’s Barricade (June 19)

A kinetic, violent and hugely intelligent SF road thriller – a desperate journey through a ruined future world.

Kenstibec was genetically engineered to build a new world, but the apocalypse forced a career change. These days he drives a taxi instead.

A fast-paced, droll and disturbing novel, BARRICADE is a savage road trip across the dystopian landscape of post-apocalypse Britain; narrated by the cold-blooded yet magnetic antihero, Kenstibec.

Kenstibec is a member of the “Ficial” race, a breed of merciless super-humans. Their war on humanity has left Britain a wasteland, where Ficials hide in barricaded cities, besieged by tribes of human survivors. Originally optimised for construction, Kenstibec earns his keep as a taxi driver, running any Ficial who will pay from one surrounded city to another.

The trips are always eventful, but this will be his toughest yet. His fare is a narcissistic journalist who’s touchy about her luggage. His human guide is constantly plotting to kill him. And that’s just the start of his troubles.

On his journey he encounters ten-foot killer rats, a mutant king with a TV fixation, a drug-crazed army, and even the creator of the Ficial race. He also finds time to uncover a terrible plot to destroy his species for good – and humanity too.

This sounds like a pretty cool SF novel.

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Caltabiano-SeventhMissHatfieldUKAnna Caltabiano’s The Seventh Miss Hatfield (July 17)

A spellbinding debut from a hugely talented young author, featuring time-travel, 19th-century New York, unrequited love and a mysterious portrait…

Rebecca, a 15-year-old American, isn’t entirely happy with her life, comfortable though it is. Still, even she knows that she shouldn’t talk to strangers. So when her mysterious neighbour Miss Hatfield asked her in for a chat and a drink, Rebecca wasn’t entirely sure why she said yes. It was a decision that was to change everything.

For Miss Hatfield is immortal. And now, thanks to a drop of water from the Fountain of Youth, Rebecca is as well. But this gift might be more of a curse, and it comes with a price. Rebecca is beginning to lose her personality, to take on the aspects of her neighbour. She is becoming the next Miss Hatfield.

But before the process goes too far, Rebecca must travel back in time to turn-of-the-century New York and steal a painting, a picture which might provide a clue to the whereabouts of the source of immortality. A clue which must remain hidden from the world. In order to retrieve the painting, Rebecca must infiltrate a wealthy household, learn more about the head of the family, and find an opportunity to escape. Before her journey is through, she will also have – rather reluctantly – fallen in love. But how can she stay with the boy she cares for, when she must return to her own time before her time-travelling has a fatal effect on her body? And would she rather stay and die in love, or leave and live alone?

And who is the mysterious stranger who shadows her from place to place? A hunter for the secret of immortality – or someone who has already found it?

How cool is that cover GIF? I’m really intrigued by this novel. Sounds different, and should be a stand-out of the summer.

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JacobsJH-IncorruptiblesUKJohn Hornor Jacobs’s The Incorruptibles (August 14)

On the edges of the Empire, life is hard – and men must be harder.

In the contested and unexplored territories at the edge of the Empire, a boat is making its laborious way up stream. Riding along the banks are the mercenaries hired to protect it – from raiders, bandits and, most of all, the stretchers, elf-like natives who kill any intruders into their territory. The mercenaries know this is dangerous, deadly work. But it is what they do.

In the boat the drunk governor of the territories and his sons and daughters make merry. They believe that their status makes them untouchable. They are wrong. And with them is a mysterious, beautiful young woman, who is the key to peace between warring nations and survival for the Empire. When a callow mercenary saves the life of the Governor on an ill-fated hunting party, the two groups are thrown together.

For Fisk and Shoe – two tough, honourable mercenaries surrounded by corruption, who know they can always and only rely on each other – their young companion appears to be playing with fire. The nobles have the power, and crossing them is always risky.

And although love is a wonderful thing, sometimes the best decision is to walk away. Because no matter how untouchable or deadly you may be, the stretchers have other plans.

I have been hearing a lot of great things about this novel. Can. Not. Wait to read it.

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Upcoming in 2014 from Gollancz

I kind of dropped the ball with my Gift Guides at the end of 2013. I would apologise, but that’s the beauty of running your own blog: you don’t answer to anyone. Nevertheless, there are still plenty of novels coming up in the first few months of 2014 that deserve some advance warning/notice, and I intend to share with you cover art and synopses (and anything else that might be of interest) as and when I can. Today, I highlight just a few of the novels coming up from Gollancz, that bastion of SFF quality and excellence.

HarrisJM-GospelOfLokiJoanne M. Harris, The Gospel of Loki

With his notorious reputation for trickery and deception, and an ability to cause as many problems as he solves, Loki is a Norse god like no other. Demon-born, he is viewed with deepest suspicion by his fellow gods who will never accept him as one of their own and for this he vows to take his revenge.

But while Loki is planning the downfall of Asgard and the humiliation of his tormentors, greater powers are conspiring against the gods and a battle is brewing that will change the fate of the Worlds.

From his recruitment by Odin from the realm of Chaos, through his years as the go-to man of Asgard, to his fall from grace in the build-up to Ragnarok, this is the unofficial history of the world’s ultimate trickster.

I shared this on Tumblr earlier today, but damn I love that cover, and I love the premise. In fact, I love it so much, that I also have another post coming up later this month that includes the cover again. I love Norse Mythology, and I have a feeling that Harris is going to do the source material proud and do something wonderful with it. Easily one of my most highly-anticipated novels of 2014.

Can. Not. Wait. Due to be published in February 2014.

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JacobsJH-TheIncorruptiblesJohn Hornor Jacobs, The Incorruptibles

In the contested and unexplored territories at the edge of the Empire, a boat is making its laborious way upstream. Riding along the banks are the mercenaries hired to protect it – from raiders, bandits and, most of all, the stretchers, elf-like natives who kill any intruders into their territory. The mercenaries know this is dangerous, deadly work. But it is what they do.

In the boat the drunk governor of the territories and his sons and daughters make merry. They believe that their status makes them untouchable. They are wrong. And with them is a mysterious, beautiful young woman, who is the key to peace between warring nations and survival for the Empire. When a callow mercenary saves the life of the Governor on an ill-fated hunting party, the two groups are thrown together.

For Fisk and Shoe – two tough, honourable mercenaries surrounded by corruption, who know they can always and only rely on each other – their young companion appears to be playing with fire. The nobles have the power, and crossing them is always risky. And although love is a wonderful thing, sometimes the best decision is to walk away. Because no matter how untouchable or deadly you may be, the stretchers have other plans.

Heard about this a little while ago, and I believe Mark Lawrence (Prince of Thorns) mentioned that he really enjoyed it. This is due to be published in June 2014.

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PatrickD-BoyWithThePorcelainBladeDen Patrick, The Boy With the Porcelain Blade

A world of betrayals and deceit. A hero alone. A delicate sword. A thrilling new fantasy from an exciting new voice.

An ornate yet dark fantasy, with echoes of Mervyn Peake, Robin Hobb and Jon Courtenay Grimwood. An original and beautifully imagined world, populated by unforgettable characters.

Lucien de Fontein has grown up different. One of the mysterious and misshapen Orfano who appear around the Kingdom of Landfall, he is a talented fighter yet constantly lonely, tormented by his deformity, and well aware that he is a mere pawn in a political game. Ruled by an insane King and the venomous Majordomo, it is a world where corruption and decay are deeply rooted – but to a degree Lucien never dreams possible when he first discovers the plight of the ‘insane’ women kept in the haunting Sanatoria.

Told in a continuous narrative interspersed with flashbacks we see Lucien grow up under the care of his tutors. We watch him forced through rigorous Testings, and fall in love, set against his yearning to discover where he comes from, and how his fate is tied to that of every one of the deformed Orfano in the Kingdom, and of the eerie Sanatoria itself.

That’s a really nice cover. Aside from that, it also sounds like a really interesting novel. I’ve met Den, and he was a very nice fellow. His Elf/Orc/Dwarf war manuals were quite fun, and it’ll be interesting to see what his fiction is like. I have high hopes for this. Due to be published in March 2014.

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These are three of the novels I most want to have read and on my shelves by the end of the year. There are, of course, more titles coming from Gollancz that I have my eye on, but these are just the ones I chose to highlight today. More to come over the year.